Early Childhood Studies BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

University Centre Harlow

September 2017

code: X3C0

Apply via UCAS


Working with young children is hugely rewarding and a lot of fun. It can also be very challenging, and it’s a fast-moving sector. We’ll help you develop the skills and understanding you need to apply for great jobs and to perform well in them.

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Full description


This course takes into account the former Children's Workforce Development Council  and the Early Years Professional Framework. It will teach you the skills you need to work effectively in the early childhood sector, for example in nurseries and pre-schools.

On the other hand, you might choose to continue your university education by doing a Master’s degree, or a teaching qualification such as a PGCE.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Learning and Development
    This module introduces you to your own learning as well as children’s and links to existing theory. It explores the difference between learning and development and considers the influence of adults on children’s learning. The key topics will be: human development, understanding learning, study skills and the roles of parents and key persons.
  • Play, Health and Well-being
    Nowadays the link between lifestyle factors such as activity levels, diet and health is becoming increasingly clear, and greater importance is being placed on the need for children to access outdoor environments. It is crucial to get children making choices and enjoying a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle from as young an age as possible. Play is recognised as being crucial to children's physical, mental, social and emotional well-being, yet opportunities and encouragement for free play are becoming increasingly limited. You’ll consider children’s well-being and how it relates to their rights. You’ll learn how well-being can be supported through healthy eating, regular physical activity and a play based environment. The key topics will be: well-being, healthy eating and exercise, outdoor play and forest schools.
  • Researching Childhood
    You’ll be introduced to essential research skills relating to children and learn about the importance of linking theory to your practice. The aim is for you to develop skills in child observation and apply general research methods to childhood studies. You'll be expected to work in small groups and share your experience and ideas with your class. The key topics will be: research methods, ethics involved in working with children, types of observation and studying children.

Year one, optional modules

  • Practitioner 1
    This module will explore the growth and development of children in interaction with their environment and consider the implications for practice. You will observe a child for one semester to consolidate your understanding of the principles of child development. You will then use these insights to analyse how the characteristics of the individual and features of his / her environment interact to influence growth and development in early years; the value of early years and the role of early years practitioner in promoting the learning and development of children.
  • Understanding the Work Context
    This module will develop your understanding of the wide range of settings present in the early childhood arena. You’ll explore legalisation and initiatives that inform practice and consider the impact on policy change. You’ll draw comparisons between the different types of options available to parents and carers and discuss the value of the different environments for the children who attend.

Year two, core modules

  • Safeguarding Children
    In this module you’ll explore children’s welfare and well-being. You’ll learn about the complexities attached to the notion of risk, child abuse, protection and safeguarding. This module will offer a comprehensive cover of English legislation, policy and procedures for keeping children safe from abuse. You will gain an understanding of the range of provision available to support children’s needs. The key topics will be: child protection, support and intervention, policy and legislation, multi-disciplinary working and welfare and well-being.
  • Supporting Children's Learning
    This module is about the ways in which children play and learn and the means by which adults can mediate and support their experience. You’ll discuss pedagogic strategies and learn about the importance of creative practices and children learning through play. Different early years’ curricula (Steiner Waldorf, Montessori method, Experiential Education, High Scope, Reggio Emilia and Te Whariki) will be compared and contrasted with England’s curriculum. The key topics will be: early years’ curricula, learning through play, creative learning and pedagogy as well as documenting care and learning.
  • Embracing Diversity
    In this module, you'll discuss disability, differences and special educational needs in relation to debates on inclusion and exclusion, needs and rights, and the importance of seeing every child as an individual. You’ll explore different cultural practices to enable an empathetic understanding of how to help all children feel welcome in a setting. Theories for this module are drawn from different backgrounds such as psychology, sociology and education. The key topics will be: history and language of inclusion, cultural differences and EAL, family structures and lifestyles, policy and legislation as well as special educational needs.

Year two, optional modules

  • Practitioner 2
    This module aims to develop your understanding of children's learning and development in the context of organisational policies and practices. You’ll be asked to choose a policy and its related practice in your placement setting and study its implications on the role of an early years’ practitioner. You’ll also be expected to participate in the day-to-day running of the setting while undertaking the tasks relating to this module.
  • Enquiry into Practice
    This module will help you understand the policy context appropriate to early childhood and its relevance to different areas of work with young children and their families. You’ll explore different aspects of early years’ professionalism by using enquiry based methods and will present your ideas to your peers. This module will give you the opportunity to explore different possibilities for working with young children and their families and to plan for your personal and professional development. Where appropriate, you'll also be able to take advantage of the Erasmus scheme to visit practice settings abroad.

Year three, core modules

  • Children's Rights
    You’ll use a rights-based approach to consider whether universal policy can support children worldwide. You’ll study past and current policy initiatives, and the work of the United Nations and charities to support children from less privileged backgrounds. You’ll be encouraged to make global comparisons of children's rights by looking at the work of agencies which support and promote the rights of the child. The key topics will be: children’s rights, national contexts, international perspectives and multiple childhoods.
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives
    This module will give you an overview of childhood from a range of different perspectives: geographical, historical, philosophical, psychological, sociological, educational and economic. It links concepts from different disciplines to contextualise childhood and update your knowledge of the subject at the end of the course. The key topics will be: how notions of childhood vary across time and place, philosophies and constructs of childhood, the psychosocial interface and the social, political and economic world.
  • Undergraduate Major Project
    The undergraduate major project enables you to raise and address significant questions relating to your chosen topic/issue. You'll be supported by a tutor with similar interests and research profile. This module requires autonomous study and it is your chance to demonstrate that you have met our University’s expectations and are ready to graduate.

Year three, optional modules

  • Practitioner 3
    You’ll work closely with your placement mentor and identify the strengths and gaps in your professional skills and knowledge, particularly in relation to leadership and management in early years. This module builds on the principle that good quality in early years’ practice requires creative and effective leaders who are able to encourage effective team development. You’ll be expected to identify an area of practice that you would like to study through the use of case study.
  • The Professional Leader
    You’ll gain a sound understanding of the leadership and management issues in early years. The module builds on the principle that quality in early years’ provision requires creative and effective leaders who are able to manage resources and encourage team development to support children's well-being and potential. You’ll examine the context in which education and care is provided to review how early years practitioners can work better to meet the needs of young children. You’ll be able to analyse the contextual nature of early childhood and the impact of policy, practice and service frameworks.
  • Early Childhood Specialist Subject
    You’ll be able to explore a subject of personal interest that is relevant to the early childhood sector but which you are unable to use as your undergraduate major project. It will help you develop key communication skills which are essential for a leadership role in the workplace. You’ll analyse the nature of conflicting evidence, and ways in which that evidence is communicated to the workforce and society.


Throughout the course, we’ll use different methods to check you’re making progress. There are no exams, but we’ll asses you on other written work such as essays, written critiques, a reflective journal and investigative reports. We’ll also assess your presentations, web discussions, and professional development portfolio.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education is the largest provider of health, social care and education courses in the East of England, with over 6,000 students from more than 20 countries.

With 95% of our students finding full-time employment within six months of graduating, you can be sure that our courses have been designed with your career in mind. We’ve been educating nurses, midwives and social workers for over 25 years.

At the cutting edge of research, we offer a range of internationally recognised undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses taught by friendly, supportive and experienced staff. With over 150 research students across our three doctoral programmes (PhD; DProf and EdD), we provide the multi-disciplinary perspective and potential for academic debate that reflects our position as a leader in practitioner-focused and practice-led research studies.

Designed to enhance your learning experience, our facilities include state-of-the-art simulated skills laboratories that mirror real-life clinical situations and UK hospital wards. Our students also benefit from our Early Childhood Research and Resource Centre; a space in which they can experiment with equipment and play activities.

You’ll study in an exciting, modern faculty which has strong links with regional, national and international organisations, including healthcare trusts, social services, local and regional authorities, schools and academic institutions.

Your enthusiasm. Our passion. Your best foot forward.

Where can I study?

University Centre Harlow

University Centre Harlow (UCH) is a bright, modern campus with a range of top-class facilities.

Explore UCH

Additional study information

By law you must have recognised qualifications, such as this degree, to work with early years children in the UK. There are excellent opportunities for qualified people in many areas of this growing sector.

Class sizes here are small and the practical exercises and seminars not only keep step with your academic studies but also focus on the very latest developments. We encourage our students to form study groups to discuss these issues and also to practise learning independently.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

Entry requirements

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  • 200 UCAS tariff points, plus 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including Mathematics and English, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance, evidence of work with young children, and a successful interview.
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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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UK & EU applicants

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Email University Centre Harlow